Inquisitor 1531 Almost Surely by Hedge-sparrow

February 20, 2019

A lower case sparrow? Apparently so – a case of not knowing what to expect, because I can’t remember any previous appearances, my memory being what it is. Blame distractions. A new toy – a Chromebook complete with a lovely glowing keyboard and, more to the point, a searchable Chambers Dictionary in 12.5 glorious inches. The big red book gets bigger still.

But to business, albeit with a bit of mucking around in-between. A curve to draw. Extra letters. Unclued entries, leading to a quote or something. This I can cope with this, we’ve done this sort of thing before. Perhaps this isn’t going to turn into yet another mammoth session, because we’ve had a few of those of late.

Hold that thought. The first in is somewhere down the bottom of the grid. I’d forgotten how superfluous letters can muddy the waters. Yep, TASTE, that was how obvious a hint I needed. And it didn’t help much either. But finally… Getting into the swing of things with the downs… “Close(t)” has got to be endgame, a NOONER’s something Americans get up to lunchtime when the rest of us are eating, and so on.

The unclued entries? I’ve got some ideas, confirmed quite unexpectedly at 20ac. APISM, thematic behaviour indeed. Quickly look at what simians will fit. And with the mention of Shakespeare elsewhere a suspicion is swiftly beginning to form.

A brief debacle with 15ac, which is TORR and not TORT. A similar disaster averted at 12d – BOSN, and not BOSS. Similar stumbling blocks duly stumbled over the past couple of weeks having sharpened the senses somewhat…

Those extra letters? A bit of jiggery-pokery with the wordplay later… “THE STRAIN OF MAN’S BRED OUT INTO BABOON AND MONKEY.” More Shakespeare. Told you I was onto something. Lots of monkeys with typewriters? Apism, a symmetrical pattern?

Much staring at the grid later… It’s backwards, you see, or at least the bit I spotted first. THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM. Yep, that’s 24 cells. Out with the green highlighter, my favourite.

Now, wasn’t that a relief? A nice, enjoyable offering that didn’t leave me feeling in need of a lie-down at the close. Perhaps that was the idea. So thanks to all involved, and onward.

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